Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Life without Bookshelves

A wonderful post on the Booksellers website by Marcus Greville, Web Manager at Vicbooks in Wellington is a must-read for all collectors of books. It begins thus:
A recent article described the disappearance of home bookshelves in the face of growing ebookishness. It left me with the same feeling of stunned confusion I experienced when, aged nine, my brother cut my yo-yo string mid yo.
A home without bookshelves means a home without books, or, worse, hidden books. Which is wrong. Wrongity, wrong wrong wrong.
The rest of it (oh do keep reading) is here. 


Jim Murdoch said...

In my office I am surrounded by bookshelves. They don’t all contain books – I have enough CDs and tapes to fill two bookcases from floor to ceiling – and all of that could be held I would imagine on a 500mb hard drive, a little black box. I like the look of the shelves full of books some of which are now stacked two deep. The room feels nice. I have a fair collection of e-books and digital music and I don’t feel anything very much for it. I try but I can’t equate ‘possession’ with something abstract. If I lost it all I’d be annoyed but if I lost my office-worth of stuff I’d be distraught. I can remember where I bought most of those items and, okay, some were just ordered off eBay or Amazon but most weren’t. I just can’t see someone in the future having the same emotional connection with his electronic library as I have with my physical one.

Mary McCallum said...

yes, Jim, that's it - isn't it? The way memory and sensation resides in objects, in this case - books. Last night, after reading Marcus' post I started rearranging one part of my bookshelves - I've been slack and recent purchases have gone on a 'recent purchases' shelf - ran out of room in 'UK', 'US' etc and 'NZ" is overflowing ... so I spent a couple of hours, shifting, touching, moving... and each one I picked up had a memory attached, where it was bought, who gave it to me, a thread of the feelings I felt reading it. The War and Peace my Dad gave me when I was 14? 15? the Faber Alexandria Quartet I read on the tube in London (library books) and my son bought me one by one from second-hand bookshops, the collection of poems I read as a schoolgirl, another I read to my children ... and on it goes. I still have a number of my children's books, so many hours I spent with them! (the children and the books...) the best ones are loved to bits and held together with tape. In a strange way, all the best adult books are like that too but we can't see it.

Lesley said...

You need to check out this house which is made up of just book shelves! Its fantastic and I want it!